Around Laketown: Land Conservancy’s Dune Pines a quiet escape in woods

Dune Pines Nature Preserve is 13 acres on Audubon Street.
The entry to the Dune Pines Nature Preserve on Audubon Street.

Laketown Township parks have hiking paths and walking trails for people of all abilities, from the paved walkways at the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road, to the rustic trails at Farview Park, 6257 138th Ave. The township is also home to several other recreational areas. Besides the most well-known site – the 1,000-acre Saugatuck Dunes State Park at the end of 138th Avenue – there is a smaller, about 13-acre parcel called the Dune Pines Nature Preserve.

The site, 4574 S. Audubon St. (west end of 146th Avenue) was established in 2006 and is overseen by the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. The 0.6-mile trail winds through forest and hills and is a place for a quiet walk. The preserve protects a forested backdune ecosystem near a critical dune area, according to the group’s website.

It does not have Lake Michigan access.

Dunes Pines Nature Preserve on Audobon Road (146th Avenue) in Laketown Township on Sunday, April 2, 2023.

No part of the trail walk is too strenuous. There are no stairs but some inclines. The trail is obvious but trees are marked with blue dots to keep hikers on track.

On the western boundary is an elevated stretch that was once part of the Interurban electric railway that carried passengers between Holland and Saugatuck in the early 20th Century.

Park-goers can also see parts of Interurban history at Sanctuary Woods, 4750 66th St., where portions of a bridge still stand, and in Farview Park where there is an Interurban wait station. In the center of Farview Park is a clear area now used by Consumers Energy for power lines. That was once the railway line.

Parking at Dunes Pines Nature Preserve is limited to the roadside area in front of the preserve. Look for the sign and the wooden fence.

Leashed pets are allowed.

The Dunes Pines Nature Preserve does not connect to the 5-acre Castle Park Nature Preserve. That reserve can only be accessed by walking along the beach. The nearest public access is Laketown Beach, about a mile to the south.